Dairy and Acne

I've been suffering from breakouts for about two years now, and while they're never too severe, they still make me feel incredibly self conscious about my skin. My acne first flared up when I was about fourteen, and I was prescribed a contraceptive pill to help clear it. The results were amazing, and I enjoyed lovely clear skin right up until my early twenties. While today my pill still keeps the worst of my acne under control, these past few years I've been getting a cluster of pimples around my jawline that don't want to shift! I've no idea what the cause is, but due to them being located at the bottom of my face I'm guessing it's hormone related. Therefore, after reading a dozen articles on the milk and acne relationship, I've decided to go dairy-free for a while to see if it makes a difference.

Now, here's the science-y bit: Cows milk (particularly skimmed/semi-skimmed) contains natural growth hormones that are thought to nourish spots by blocking pores and making skin greasy. It's also packed with androgens such as testosterone which can create an excess of sebum and aggravate acne. Seeing as my pill suppresses testosterone, it makes sense to think that milk and dairy products may be making my skin worse.

I've noticed that I tend to get more spots when I come home from uni. My family are all big tea drinkers, so whenever my parents make themselves a cuppa they make me one, too. I also eat a lot more cheese when I'm at home as it's a regular staple in my family's diet, whereas back in Southampton I only buy it as an occasional treat. When I went home for Christmas the other month I spent almost two weeks grating cheddar over everything and washing down endless cups of tea. A few days post-indulgence I woke up to two juicy whiteheads on my cheek. Lovely.

While it's not been proven that milk causes acne (and I know plenty of porcelain-skinned beauties that drink it regularly) I can't help but make a connection. Therefore, I'm going cold-turkey on all dairy products for now to see if my skin gets any better. I'm replacing my daily dose of cow's milk with almond and coconut, and I'm avoiding cheese, milk chocolate, ice-cream and yoghurt. I know it's going to be super difficult (no more pizza - sob) but I'm quite excited and interested to see if it makes a difference!

I'm going to try not to just waltz down the 'free from' aisle and throw everything in my trolley. Instead, I'm going to be focusing on eating lots of fresh fruit, nuts and leafy greens. I try to eat healthily the majority of the time anyway (note the word 'try'), so hopefully this will give me more motivation knowing how much it might benefit my skin. I may post a few diary-free recipes along the way and will of course report back after some time to notify you all of my results (if any)!

If anyone has ever experimented with a dairy-free diet before and found it helped their skin, I'd be really interested to hear your story! Fingers crossed it will aid my journey toward a clear, blemish-free complexion. 


  1. I'm the same, over the last 6 months my skin has been absolutely horrendous! I never used to struggle with my skin but now I seem to wake up with a new massive painful spot everyday :( I used to drink skimmed milk which Ive now switched to almond, though I haven't seen much improvement, now I'm thinking I need to reduce cheese, which is very daunting as I love it!
    xxx Claire

    1. I'm obsessed with cheese too! Half of me is hoping that dairy is the problem as I just want my skin to clear up, but the other half of me is hoping it isn't as I just love it so much!! xx

  2. My skin has hated me the past couple of months and it makes me so self conscience. I REALLY hope that it's not dairy related. I love my cheese way too much! haha. Thanks for sharing this with us, it's something worth noting :)

    1. If dairy is the cause of my skin woes I'll be relieved I've finally got to the bottom of it, but I'll also be gutted as I love milk and cheese! I can't imagine being without it for good x

  3. Great post! Thank you for sharing with us :) Liuba x

  4. This is really interesting, thank you for sharing!

    alice xxx

  5. I’m in love with your blog! It was so interesting to read your posts and also I’d like to say that you have beautiful photos!
    I’ll be happy to see you in my blog!)
    p.s. new post - how I met Victoria Beckham http://www.dianacloudlet.com/2015/02/victoria-beckham-zip-pouch-met-victoria-beckham.html

    Diana Cloudlet

  6. I'm considering swapping my regular milk for almond milk since so many people have been commenting that your skin benefits so much when you make the swap!
    Rachel Coco